The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita centres around Humbert Humbert a predator who steals a child and poses as the victim’s father. It is written from Humbert’s point of view, and we find he is an unreliable narrator. Weinman looks at the phenomenon of Lolita and the kidnapping of Sally Horner. Weinman claims the novel is loosely based on this child. Sally’s mother consents to her child spending a holiday with friends. As she is overwhelmed by work and life, she does not carry out due diligence and agrees over the phone for this event to take place. She realises she has let a predator take her daughter. Sally and the predator move from place to place, and eventually, Sally is returned to her mother, only to die soon after in a car crash. Lolita became a best seller. Vera, Nabokov’s wife, wrote in her diary, “I wish someone would notice the tender description of the child’s helplessness, her pathetic dependence upon the monstrous HH, and her heartrending courage all along.” Whether or not Lolita is Sally, this examination is a fascinating look at this cultural sensation.

The Real Lolita
Published: 2018

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